Remember 1993? When President Clinton co-opted the Republican agenda and so began the era of the 'New Democrats'. A Democrat who was promoting and passing the Republicans' agenda in free trade, banking, deregulation, and welfare. No matter what the Republicans did they could not touch Bill Clinton. He always came out on top. The Repubs won control of Congress, President Clinton still beat them. They played a game of chicken shutting down the government and got squashed like bugs by Bill Clinton. They tried to invade his personal life and made public to the whole world the seamier side of politics and still Bill Clinton slipped through their fingers. Bill Clinton left office one of the most popular Presidents in history. The Republicans were left scratching their collective heads vowing never again. Long after Clinton left office, Repubs were still screaming his name in agony.
So here in 2010, along comes the Democrats and President Barack Obama proposing healthcare reform similar to what the Republicans proposed in the Senate back in 1993 called "Health Equity and Access Reform Today Act of 1993", sponsored by no less than 19 Republican Senators. Yep, that's right! President Obama co-opted the Republican healthcare bill from 1993! More below the fold.
You can check the original bill proposal over at Kaiser Health News here. There are some differences between the two bills of course, but the main objectives are in both bills. To create a system of 'managed competition' to help reduce healthcare costs and eliminating discrimination on the basis of health status. In the video below Timothy Jost in a C-SPAN interview yesterday morning discusses the constitutionality of the newly passed HCR legislation and states chances of successfully challenging the new law. But then, in the Q&A, he makes eye-opening remarks about how the legislation really follows the Republican ideals of free market competition with subsidies and tax incentives and not the Democrat's view of government provided healthcare. No single payer system. No public option.
Below is another video from Washington and Lee University, where a month ago Mr. Jost discussed in less animated posture the overall view of the current legislation and the poor job the media has done to give fair treatment to the context of the bill.
What's really funny, after watching that C-SPAN interview, is that Tim Jost assumed that the Republicans must not have read the HCR bill. If they had surely they would be in support of the bill. But instead the Republicans are letting the wackos over at Fox News and on talk radio tell them what's in the bill.
You know what? I don't buy that. The Republicans knew exactly what was in the healthcare bill. They very well knew that it was their own original proposed legislation from 1993. But they voted against HCR anyway. And they don't care.
They don't care because they would rather run the United States economy into the ground before seeing another Democrat co-opt their political agenda, pass it, and come out on top. They are dead set against that. Even if they have to run to the extreme fringes of their party, they will not have another 'Bill Clinton' in the White House.
But guess what? They have already lost. Barack Obama is not Bill Clinton. He is better than Bill Clinton. He is smarter. Craftier. Bolder. He is a leader. They will see him coming and there is not a damn thing in the world they can do to stop him. Blinded by their own folly, they are impotent in their rage. They will not even listen to the intellectuals in their own party.
No where was this more evident than in the Republicans vote on the reconciliation bill which struck the special 'sweetheart deals' from the Senate version. The Republicans spent months decrying the 'Cornhusker Kickback' and the 'Louisiana Purchase'. But when it came time to pass legislation to fix that. Not one of them voted for it. Not one.
As has been well-publicized now, Newt Gingrich said that the Democrats would regret passing HCR bill just like when the civil rights legislation was passed in the 60's. That's right. Republicans are not about doing the right thing. They are definetely not about morality. They crave power at any cost. John Dean nailed Newt to the wall on that one.
And this year? The Republicans will not be winning back control of Congress. This year we will finally took the first step toward real healthcare reform.